One size does not fit everyone and with the variety of fitness programs out there, there can be many ways people can get in shape. But following the below commandments are critical to creating a safe, efficient and high level training environment. Whether you do P90x, Crossfit, functional training, Pilates or weight training, following the below principles will make for a better overall training program.
1Quality of Movement is critical. Too many fitness programs do not pay attention to how well individuals are moving. Movement is a way of life. It’s not just about exercise. If we learn how to move fluid and efficient in the gym, it will transfer to our everyday life, which gives us more energy, less injury and improved performance. Can you control your own bodyweight? Can you crawl on the ground? Can you deep squat in a fluid manner? Do your shoulders have adequate mobility? Random exercise, high volume repetitions, poor exercise progressions and dysfunctional movement can all lead you to injury and pain. Master basic human movement first. Once you can do this, you can move on to more complex movement and exercise training.
2Your warm up sets the tone of the workout. The warm up is the most important component of the workout as it can accomplish many things. During a thorough and proper dynamic warm up, you will increase blood flow, enhance your total body movement, work on your coordination and most importantly prepare for the work ahead, which will decrease the chance of injury. The energy created in the warm up will make for a better overall workout.
Here are some examples of warm up movements: knee raise pulls, straight leg kicks, quad pulls, side lunges, lunge/arms straight up,crawling, jumping jacks, agility drills and running drills like high knees, butt kicks and skipping. Your warm up should be between 5-12 minutes. The more intense your session, the more you need to warm up.
3Don’t work till failure. Think technical failure. When you no longer can perform perfect repetitions, then stop the set. Those sloppy repetitions done till failure will not make you better. If it is a weight training exercise, pick a weight that you can perform all recommended repetitions perfectly. In my opinion, if you need a “spot”, then the weight is too heavy for you to complete. You will be compensating, forcing bad mechanics and increasing your chance of injury.
4Eat healthy after the session. Food is fuel. After training we have used fuel and depleted our system so replenishing post-workout is critical to our success in our program. If you skip the post-workout fuel, plan on not getting your desired results. If you are busy right after your workout, plan ahead and have a snack ready to go. Quick options could be whey protein, a small banana with a handful of nuts, 8 ounces of chocolate milk or Greek yogurt with a handful of blueberries. Results come to the people who are committed not just to the training but the nutrition program as well.
5Don’t be negative. Construct a positive belief system in yourself. If you are shooting for specific goals, a pessimistic attitude does not lead you closer to those goals. This takes mental conditioning to build this mindset. Daily affirmations, positive thought substitutions and surrounding yourself with motivating people will be the steps necessary to create this way of thinking.
Don’t focus on the negatives in your life. Instead, be aware of the things you are doing right. It will make you feel better and give you the motivation to keep you on track. If you “mess up,” stay positive and keep moving forward.
Justin Levine owns California Fitness Academy in Visalia. You can contact him at 334-8990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.